Editor’s Note: New contributor Rebecca McClain (unsightly) is here to prove that the indefatigable bakersroyale isn’t the only ES-er who can whip up a dessert (don’t worry — poptails ain’t goin’ anywhere!) For the rest of the spring and summer, unsightly, a vegetable gardener and baker who has eaten something new everyday for the last 4 years of her life, will be bringing us ES-style ice cream recipes: that means you can forget about chocolate and vanilla—because you’re getting olive oil, figs, and black licorice up in your ice cream.
Ages (or 12 years) ago, I spent a lot of time walking the streets of the UW-Madison campus with my boyfriend. State Street was loaded with every kind of eatery, from North African to Hungarian to Tibetan. One of our favorite stops was an ice cream parlor called The Chocolate Coyote. The lobby was loaded with stacks of free copies of The Onion. We’d grab a copy, head into the parlor, and if we were lucky they would have their incredible black licorice ice cream in the line-up.
We’d sit and read over The Onion and eat triple-scoop waffle cones of the stuff. Black licorice is a pretty polarizing flavor, and we both sit firmly in the ‘love-it’ side. This ice cream was unlike anything I had ever had. It was creamy white with little pieces of hard licorice that left ribbons of flavor. It was my favorite. A couple of years later a Coldstone Creamery opened up just two doors away from the Chocolate Coyote and very quickly and very efficiently put it out of business. After a period of mourning, I started my hunt for that ice cream. I stopped at every small ice cream parlor I came across. I asked the owners if they had ever heard of it. Everyone I talked to either looked disgusted or puzzled. I researched online and the only thing I could find was this weird solid black ice cream that looked nothing like what I wanted.
Last summer we drove to an ice cream shop over an hour away to taste the solid black ice cream and came away disappointed. Finally I broke down and bought an ice cream maker. Sometimes you have to take shit into your own hands. Black licorice was, of course, the first thing I made in it. I found licorice flavor from LorAnn Oils and hard candies at a local candy store. I was set.
The verdict? I am happy at last. I can rest easy knowing that my favorite ice cream is always in my reach. And the best part is I am now ice cream crazy. I think about ice cream at least a few hours each day. I have a feeling this will be a delicious summer.